Photo by Alen Lin, 3/08
S. Irene Virbila is back from vacation with a lackluster review of the new Nobu outpost on La Cienega. She brings the point home over and over again: Sure, the yellowtail with jalapeno and squid pasta with garlic sauce are still there because what would a Nobu be without those? After that, however, Nobu is just another Nobu:
For the latest Nobu in the sushi master's hometown and in the historic L'Orangerie space, I had hoped Matsuhisa-san would break out with something a cut above everything he's done before, the way Wolfgang Puck reinvented Spago when he moved his iconic West Hollywood restaurant to Beverly Hills. But the new restaurant doesn't move the Nobu brand forward in any significant way -- and it's not nearly as glamorous as the New York or London versions...The food is standard-issue Nobu. What's missing is the unpredictability and sheer fantasy of the specials at his first restaurant, Matsuhisa, in Beverly Hills.Maybe it's a good thing Matsuhisa-san didn't close the original. The splashy scene, the sauces, the model servers, we've seen it all before. Nobu LA gets one star. Today the "S." stands for "stale." [LAT]
ELSEWHERE: An early look at the very promising Palate Food + Wine; more about BonChon Chicken in Koreatown; a surprising brunch at Bistro de la Gare in So Pas; Flake, an appropriate name for a cereal-breakfast spot in Venice.